Date: 21 Oct 2012

From Text to Image: The Sacred Foundation of Western Institutional Order: Legal-Semiotic Perspectives

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Abstract

The paper analyzes the sacred foundations of Western institutional order, moving from an epistemological, historical and legal–aesthetic perspective. Firstly, it identifies an epistemological theory of complexity which, pursuing Hayek’s theory of complexity, Robilant’s notion of informative–normative systems, Popper’s theory of the Worlds, and Dupuy’s theory of endogenous fixed point, will conclusively lead to presenting the hypothesis of World 0 as the World of the foundation of legal thinking, the home of the sacred and the aesthetic. Secondly, it identifies the axiological character of the legal aesthetic as a discipline, a topic that will be taken up in relation to the work of the French historian of canonical law and psychoanalyst Legendre, starting from the analysis of a legal/historiographical context (Corpus Iuris Civilis, Corpus Iuris Canonici, Hobbesian Leviathan, Kelsenian Grundnorm). Thirdly, following Ellul’s thought on secularization, the idea that we now live in a secularized, lay society, lacking in the sacred is revealed as a sort of illusion, the creation of a myth of modernity, only apparently rational. Finally the paper proposes as the task of legal theory the identification of the system of “nomograms” in which the normative message is organized, according to a nonreductionistic approach that forces legal theory to recognize the plurality of the iconic forms of the normative message. The “nomograms” respond to the need of extending the field of legal science to phenomena that the positivist theory of law does not consider important, but which the process of evolution of contemporary society imposes.